Sometimes, with a variety of people, I discuss various rules changes and homebrews that is to be added to this system, and I maintain a list of notes to remind me of various design decisions that I have come up with, or that others have come up with and suggested to me. This project is entirely private, although might be shared once it's done sometime in the future, and nowhere near done.
However, by request, I'm sharing the collection of notes and part of what I've done so far, and I'd love some feedback on any of it, if anyone is interested, if you think something seems pants-on-head retarded, or if something can be refined or improved. I also don't mind any suggestions for additional homebrewed rules that would fit with the idea of a unified ruleset.
The basic assumption is that the system operates based upon Only War, with heavy homebrewing to accomodate a variety of settings and starting points, based on the four lines; Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Black Crusade, and Only War.
Without further ado, here comes a long collection of notes, most of it cleaned up from snippets ripped straight out of conversations:
On relative power level of Archetypes:
Replacing "Career" and "Specialization" with "Archetypes" terminologically, each Archetype is assumed to be on the relative "power level" of Dark Heresy or Only War.
A character's relative strengths and weaknesses is not solely determined by career, but rather lot in life, paths taken, positions held, influence and relative life experience. This is best relegated to a system of Origin Paths unique for each Campaign Setting (Only War, Dark Heresy, Black Crusade, and Rogue Trader), determining what brought a character to his current place in history, presenting him with the starting scenario that sets the stage of the campaign.
By keeping the individual Archetypes "low" in relative power, the boundries and special abilities offered defines the character, without implying positions of power or influence. Conversely, Archetypes (previously "Careers" or similar) that specifically confine a character to positions that could only truly be gained as a function of roleplaying or advancement has been relegated to the concept of Specialist Packages (merging the concepts of Alternate Career Ranks (RT/DH), Elite Advancement Packages (RT/DH) and Advanced Specialities (OW), as well as part of the (terribly broken) "supplemental" Archetypes in Black Crusade.
Some might also be made into generalized Backgrounds, that will work just like backgrounds in Dark Heresy, and be available independent of Origin Path/Campaign Setting used.
TL;DR: Weaker careers/archetypes/specializations, relative strength and power level determined by campaign setting-specific Origin Path choices, background packages, and specialist packages.
On Comrades (Only War):
Use Minion (BC) and Follower (DW) rules to create a generalized system in which Comrade (Change in terminology; Companion?) in Only War can actually be codified more in how they work. Anyone starting with a Comrade in their Archetype (such as ALL Guardsmen types from Only War) would get a "Lesser Minion" (rename?) instead, conforming to certain attributes (i.e. must be human, etc), because the concrete rules for Comrades is heavily on the "wat?"-side of things.
On Navigators & Psykers:
Obviously, there would have to be a Navigator Aptitude that you cannot normally acquire, and a diversified ruleset to allow Sanctioned Psykers, Witches and Astropaths to all function under the same system; most notably giving Astropaths bonuses to "...of the warp"-stuff, since they are shielded, and perhaps able to buy Telepathic, Divination, Theosophamy, and Soul Ward powers cheaper, and others more expensively.
This is because Astropaths are Sanctioned in a unique manner, shielded by the Emperor, but are actually on the crap end of the power spectrum compared to (regular) Sanctioned Psykers.
On Alternate Career Ranks/Elite Advancement Packages:
All (most?) Alternate Career Ranks & Elite Advancement Packages replaced with Specialist Packages, that all have solid prereqs. (including at least one Aptitude prereq.), costs varying degrees of experience, perhaps offering discounts to certain skills and talents, and the chance to buy 2-3 unique talents or traits or whatnot that would otherwise have been unavailable.
This is already how most later-book Rogue Trader and Dark Heresy Alternate Career Ranks work, anyway; gives something unique in addition to the package of skills/talents at earlier ranks/for cheaps.
The same goes for Elite Advancement Packages. Cut out the latter and make sure that each Specialist Package has something that's signature "it".
Some Specialist Packages can change some or all Aptitudes similar to Advanced Specialities in Only War. Others may not.
On Astropaths, Sanctioned Psykers, and Rogue Psykers:
Reasonably, Astropaths should start at a Psy-Rating of 1, but receive a discount (75% total?) on certain (Telepathy, Divinity, Theosophamy & Soulward) disciplines, using powers as a Soulbound Psyker, but being unable to ever learn Chaos/Reaver/Renegade powers unless they somehow get Soulbound to someone else (Greater Daemon, Chaos God, etc) or manage to lose their connection to the Emperor through other means, becoming Unbound rather than Soulbound.
Astropaths would also start with the talents (or trait?) that makes Psyniscience a Free or Reflex Action - for some reason they don't already, even though Psyniscience would/should be their only real way to perceive most of the world.
There is a need for four distinct levels of psychic power; Soulbound, Conditioned, Unbound, and Daemon. Soulbound and "Bound", exemplified by Astropaths and regular Sanctioned Psykers, should not be lumped together. The Soulbound are distinct and unique, and this should be represented through added proficiency in specific fields and protection from some of the horrors of the warp (being "anchored" to beings greater than themselves).
Sanctioned Psykers start with a Psy-Rating of 2 (or 3? Too powerful for a starting Archetype?), an extra power or two of their choice (whereas Astropaths only start with Telepathy stuff), and get a semi-unique new power level, between the aforementioned Soulbound and Unbound (known as Bound and Rogue in some books). Could also pay a premium on certain powers such as Soul-Ward, since they are not Soulbound at all.
Only Soulbound characters should be able to perform Astrotelepathy without having a chance of gaining Insanity or Corruption.
Rogue Psykers could get a Psy-Rating of 2, but only start with an assorted number of low-tier Renegade or Chaos powers, and are unable to even learn certain disciplines at all, such as Soul-Ward (and potentially Theosophamy). Obviously, they would use their Psychic Powers as Rogue (otherwise known as Unbound or Unsanctioned).
More on Archetypes:
On the implementation of thematically "stronger" careers/archetyes/specializations in a unified ruleset, I've decided that Elite Advancement Packages and Alternate Career Ranks are going to be made into a single Package-form with prereqs., an experience cost, something nifty upon picking it, and with a few advances that are unique to that package.
Also, I have decided to make, for example, Commissars and Stormtrooper, into these packages, with the prereqs. that they can only be taken on creation, and that they obviously require you to be Schola Progenium. In addition to make more sense in-universe (since Commissars and Stormtroopers, to keep with those examples, all require specialized and more extensive training compared to, say, a Scum or Desperado right off the street), it also helps alleviate the obviouse balance issues in throwing a green Sergeant into the same group as a fresh Stormtrooper.
It will also help diversify for those that wants to be special kinds of Stormtroopers, since even a Stormtrooper squad would have people with different specializations - it will allow you to take Medic as your Archetype, and then pick the Stormtrooper Package on creation (if you are Schola Progenium and pay the experience cost, which will likely be the lion's part of your free experience on creation for Dark Heresy or Only War).
In fact, it would be possible to make a diverse group of players that are all Stormtroopers, yet have different defining Archetypes, and later go on to develop in wildly different directions by taking different advances, taking different Specialization Packages with different peculiarities, and that will further mix up the bag by diversifying who has which Aptitudes.
In a unified system, I want all players to start on the same relative "power-level", while also making sense in the context of the universe, independent as to whether the character is going to be used in Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Black Crusade, or Only War.
On weapon talents & proficiencies:
The way Weapon Training works in Only War doesn't sit well with me. But at the same time, neither does the older systems. No matter what, I think there is something lacking.
I was thinking I'd break weapons up into CLASS and TYPE, with two different talents. Weapon Proficiency (<class>) trains you in Class, while Weapon Training (<type>) trains you in Type.
Using a weapon for which you have neither Class nor Type would incur a -40 penalty, while having training in either Class or Type would incur a -20. Having training in both would mean no inherent penalty at all.
The "Arms Master"-talent would reduce the penalty by 20, to a maximum of -10 (So if you have Type but not Class, the penalty would be -10; If you have neither Class nor Type, it would be -20 instead of -40).
Some weapons would have no Type, while some may have no Class; this includes, for example, many Exotic Weapons that operate so differently that the only way you can realistically use them is with the Exotic Weapons Operation talent.
Classes would be Melee, Thrown, Basic, Pistol and Heavy.
ADDENDUM: Add "Unarmed" to Classes, based on Pugilist/Unarmed Warrior discussion here. /ADDENDUMEDIT: Scratch that. This is better achieved with a Special Quality. /EDIT
Types would be Bolt, Chain, Spray, Las, Launcher, Melta, Power, Shock, and Solid Projectile.
Some (Exotic) weapons would have Unique Type, corresponding to the general kind of exotic weapon it is. For example, weapons with the Eldar Type would all be usable by someone with the Exotic Weapons Operation (Eldar) talent. All Gauss Types with the Exotic Weapons Operation (Gauss). This is, of course, provided that they also can use that Class. In many cases, a Pistol is still a Pistol and a Heavy weapon is still Heavy.
What this system specifically allows is diversification of concepts, but what it does primarily for me is that it removes the sillyness of someone being able to use a Power Sword, but not a Feudal Sword. Or a Shock-Whip, but not a Grox-Whip.
This is because while you would need Weapon Proficiency (Melee) AND Weapon Training (Power) to use a Power Sword properly, a regular Feudal Sworld would only be Class: Melee, but with Type: None.
Weapon Proficiency (Class) would be categorized as a Tier 1 talent with the General and Offense OR Defence OR Finesse Aptitudes.
Weapons Training (Tye) would be classified as a Tier 1 talent with the General and Finesse Aptitudes (just like basic Only War).
Does this sound like a good system, or needless complication to soothe my autistic mind aimed at making sense of things that everyone else is fine with not making sense?
Aptitude terminology and thoughts:
An issue of pure terminology for rules clarifications, Aptitudes are now split into two main categories. Characteristics Aptitudes (Strength, Toughness, Intelligence, Weapon Skill, Agility, etc) and Professional Aptitudes (Fieldcraft, Social, Leadership, etc). This is mostly cosmetic, but helps point things out, instead of using the cumbersome and explanatory "an aptitude that shares it's name with a characteristic".
Furthermore, Skills and Talents (or any advances) may now have multiple Aptitudes associated with either part of the Skill or Talent. For example, one skill may be tied to Fellowship and Social OR Leadership. This means that to count as having two Aptitudes in order to buy, for example the Command skill, he needs Fellowship, and then either Social or Leadership. If he did not have Fellowship, but had both Social and Leadership, he would still count as having only one Aptitude.
This is done in order to diversify the number of available ways to acquire and learn certain advances that might make sense to get in multiple ways.
Also, a third kind of Aptitude has been introduced; Alignment. Being Aligned with a certain god of Chaos, only possible become if you have the Damned Trait, normally only acquirable automatically by being in a Black Crusade campaign or by GM fiat in any other setting, means that you count as having three Aptitudes when buying a certain advance, further reducing the cost. Similarly, some advances have an Antithesis. If you are Aligned with the Antithesis of an Advance, you count as having one Aptitude less.
This means that the Lost and the Damned, Chaos worshippers and the like, will always have a leg up on the pious masses of humanity. They are, however, on the fast track to becoming daemon-chowder, and in a Black Crusade campaign, this should still be acceptable seeing as all players receive this benefit (and detriment) in a similar way to basic "pre-unified ruleset" Black Crusade.
Subhuman Characteristic (Trait):
I have decided to introduce a Subhuman Characteristic, an analogue to my Inhuman/Unnatural Characteristic idea, that makes all talents and skills that are bought with a Characteristics Aptitude corresponding to that Subhuman Characteristic double in experience cost. It would also increase the difficulty of any Characteristic-based Skill Test involving said Characteristics by one step.
For example, if a character has Subhuman Intelligence, they will pay double cost for Linguistics, since Linguistics is based on the Intelligence and General Aptitudes. Similarly, it would pay double for the Polyglot Talent, since it's based on the Intelligence and Social Aptitudes.
A Hard Tech-Use Skill Test (-20) would become Very Hard (-30). But a Commerce Skill Test that is made with Fellowship would not increase, even though Commerce has the Intelligence Aptitude. If you, however, did a Commerce Skill Test using Intelligence, it's difficulty would increase by one step.
Any straight Characteristics Test would not be increased in difficulty, since it is not a Skill Test, such as the GM requesting an Intelligence Test to recall an event, or an Agility Test when rolling to safely jump down a ledge.
Ogryns is an example of those that would start with Subhuman Intelligence, as an example of where this would be used appropriately. As an added note, however, for Ogryns, it would be possible to remove this trait by a BONE-process (Biochemical Ogryn Neural Enhancement). It would not make them gain the Intelligence Aptitude or help with their abysmal intelligence, but would remove the Subhuman Intelligence Trait.
Other places where this would be appropriate is with certain Mutations (Minor or Major) or Malignancies, or certain other Homeworld options, such as Abhuman (Beastmen in particular; perhaps Subhuman Agility for minotaurs, or Subhuman Toughness for ratfolks, Subhuman Fellowship for reptile-like beastmen, etc).
Inhuman Characteristics and Unnatural Characteristics:
Inhuman Characteristic (X):
One or more of the creature's Characteristics is of inhuman or superhuman levels. This is indicated by a number that is then added directly to the relevant Characteristic Bonus. For example, a creature with a Strength of 41 normally has a Strength Bonus of 4; if the creature had Inhuman Characteristic (3) then it's Strength Bonus increases to 7 (4+3).
A creature may have this Trait more than once. Each time, it's applied to a new Characteristic or added to the modifier of a pre-existing Inhuman Characteristic.
In addition, whenever someone with an Inhuman Characteristic succeeds on a Test utilising that Characteristic, they gain a number of bonus Degrees of Success equal to half their Inhuman Characteristics modifier (rounded down).
During Opposed Characteristics Tests that end in a tie, the one with the higher Inhuman Characteristic modifier wins, unless either creature has the Unnatural Characteristic trait, in which case it takes precedence.
Inhuman Characteristics is added after any other modifier to a Characteristics Bonus, such as Unnatural Characteristic (X).
Unnatural Characteristic (X):
One or more of the creature's Characteristics have been modified through supernatural or unnatural means. Each time this trait is gained, select a Characteristic, and double it's Characteristic Bonus. For example, a creature with a Strength of 41 normally has a Strength Bonus of 4; if the creature had Unnatural Strength (3), then it's Strength Bonus increases to 12 (4*3).
A creature may have this Trait more than once. Each time, it's applied to a new Characteristic or added to the modifier of a pre-existing Unnatural Characteristic.
In addition, whenever someone with an Unnatural Characteristic succeeds on an Opposed Test utilising that Characteristic, they gain a number of bonus Degrees of Success equal to their Unnatural Characteristics modifier. During Opposed Characteristics Tests that end in a tie, the one with the higher Unnatural Characteristic modifier always wins.
When taking a Skill Test based upon a Characteristic with the Unnatural Characteristic Trait, the base Difficulty of the Test is staged downwards one level for each modifier past 1, to a maximum of -30. For example, a creature with Unnatural Intelligence (3) attempting a Very Hard (-30) Medicae Skill Test would attempt the action at Difficult (-10) instead.
Unnatural Characteristic is added before any other modifier to a Characteristic Bonus, such as Inhuman Characteristic.
This allows to keep the functionality of both kinds of the trait, allowing for a wider range of item, character and creature interaction and interpretations, without breaking cross-functionality, and makes for easier scaling and backwards compatibility between the campaign settings.
And that's it for now. I have an unfinished Skills document too, if anyone's interested, but right now, this is just a tangled mess of thoughts. If you just managed to read through all of that, I'd love some feedback on anything or everything.
Edited by Fgdsfg, 01 October 2013 - 08:01 AM.